Tuesday, December 5, 2023

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SmackDown Redux (January 28th, 2016): Shifting Targets

Hey guys and welcome to the first SmackDown on the Road to WrestleMania! After a heartbreaking loss at the Royal Rumble and post match attacks from Charlotte and Sasha Banks, how will Becky Lynch rebound? How many times will Ric Flair “Woo”? When will they let Mauro Ranallo be a one man commentary team? All of the questions will hopefully be answered!

Our first helping of Divas is Charlotte and Ric walking backstage towards the ring before her match before the break. After the break, The Flairs make their way to the ring as the commentators talk about her win at the Rumble.

The familiar guitar riff roars through the arena and Natalya is Charlotte’s opponent! We get a backstage pretape of the Anvilette saying that there is nothing worse than being injured and you can’t keep a good Hart down. With the Divas Division being on fire right now, she’s more than ready to dive back into the flames and warns the Divas that the Queen of Harts is back!

The bell rings and both women lock up and Charlotte gets the better of Natalya with a headscissors to the mat on Nattie. After a few exchanges, Nattie rolls up Charlotte for a nearfall.

As they get up, Charlotte goes for a kick to the mid-section, but Nattie counters with a snapmare, and then follows up with her patented basement dropkick. Charlotte tries to find shelter in the ropes but Nattie is right behind her. After the referee gives Charlotte some space by backing Nattie up in the corner, Charlotte gives Nattie a big boot. She goes for the pin, but only gets two. She then pounds Nattie’s head into the mad and the applies the abdominal stretch but gets quickly reversed into a abdominial stretch of her own.

After a while, Charlotte finds a way to power out, and Natalya attempts to counter with a backslide, but gets countered with a dropkick from the Divas Champion. She then hits some chops, but Nattie fires back with some of her own! (#ChopCity, anyone?) Natalya gives a German Suplex to Charlotte, and the champion rolls out of the ring.

Natalya goes out of the ring to get Charlotte back in, but gets distracted by Ric Flair’s antics as she gets in, allowing Charlotte to chop block Nattie. Charlotte then drags Nattie to the center of the ring to lock in the Figure Eight and Nattie taps!

After the match, Charlotte has not had enough, and applies a Figure Four to Nattie, until Becky Lynch runs don to the ring and tries to make a save for Nattie.

Also, we get an update on Nikki Bella. Who had a successful neck surgery and beginning the rehabilitation process. Get well Nikki!

Thoughts: I loved EVERYTHING this week. (Would have liked to have seen Sasha in some capacity but it was not too big of a deal) One of the few times, I’ve watched a match multiple times and enjoyed all of it! The match was very good. Nattie is the queen of reversals and counters and Charlotte’s transformation has been phenomenal and the ways she uses heel tactics is refreshing. At times, Ric Flair can be annoying but I realized it is just that! Ric adds a great dimension to Charlotte’s persona. I liked that he’s toned it down a notch and doesn’t make it all about him throughout the match.

How about that Nattie pretape? I thought that was the best Nattie has EVER spoken in her career! I loved it because Nattie wrestles so infrequently, it’s great to see her get that added effect for the match. I really, REALLY hope that Nattie gets a more solid place in this storyline. Nattie’s matches are so refreshing since they are few and far between.

Becky making the save literally saved me. My fear was that post-Rumble, Bex would be placed in the back burner but I am so glad to see that she has a presecne still. With FastLane providing the final momentum shift towards WrestleMania, I’m excited to see where things go from here.

With all these attacks and saves being made, I loved that the them of the Divas right now is that everyone is a having their head on a swivel and targets are everywhere. It’s a free-for-all and it’s exciting.

What did you think of Nattie’s return? The match? Becky making the save? Let me know in the comments and as always, thanks for reading!

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